Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: RIP John Gardner

From: Kerry J. Schooley (
Date: 20 Aug 2007

At 05:46 PM 17/08/2007, you wrote:

>Are you serious or just yanking my chain?

As for yanking your chain, well yeah, I do kind of get a kick out of observing how the human imagination, and practically everything else come to think of it, defies the human compulsion for categorization.

If we're talking crime writing, I'm just opening the door to speculation on the nature of crime, which I think spying does. The question has risen on the list before about where modern noir and hardboil might be headed. Consideration of this question might lead to some ideas about this. I suspect there may be a number of books we might not think of traditionally as crime-writing but would fit into the category if we consider the actual nature of crime-writing.

I note that most responses have provided examples of spying at home, which is of course a crime. When other countries spy in our country it is a crime, though occasionally special conditions exist. We have laws regarding this sort of thing. But what about our country spying in other countries? What about depictions of behaviour you and I might consider criminal, set in parts of the world where the rule of law does not exist? Is this crime-writing?

Just as a lot of books described as Mysteries do not use the device of mystery (many police procedurals begin by revealing the criminal's identity- the motivating question being how they are caught) and there may be mysteries outside the genre (who is the protagonist's secret lover.) Do we have a category of crime novels that do not, technically, involve a crime, and if so, why are they in the genre while other books that do not involve a crime are not? Convention can be re-considered. That's the purpose of many conventions.

You reply with numbers, mostly. My question would be, what crime is committed in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold? (Seriously, it's been a long time since I read it.)

Regarding numbers, any statement that begins with "everyone knows" means that something untrue quickly follows.

Everyone knows that, Kerry

------------------------------------------------------ The evil men do lives after them

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